Medals and t-shirts...
Why do they matter? What am I talking about?!
I, like a lot of others, spent my Sunday supporting the Bath Half Marathon runners, clapping and cheering to help keep them motivated as they passed by.
Men, women, young and old. Runners supporting and raising money for various charities; some taking part for their own sense of achievement.
I went home feeling inspired and who knows, maybe next year?
On reading the news later on that day, it became clear that a high number of the runners who took part and completed the course did not receive a medal and a t-shirt. This was down to an underestimation of how many runners would actually take part and finish.
I heard words like ‘shame on you’ and ‘appalled’ along with ‘very demoralising for the runners’ aimed towards the organisers. This led me to thinking, just how important is it to be externally rewarded for our achievements? Did the runners, who did not receive a medal/t-shirt, feel less worthy than the ones who did? Did they feel it took something away from their achievement?
It opened up the question of how much are we able to hold on to our achievements for ourselves? Can we give ourselves a huge pat on the back for something we have done, regardless of any rewards or feedback given to us from others? How much does it affect us if we feel we are being treated differently from others when we have achieved the same?
If you were standing behind the person who received the last medal and you were told “we do not have one for you”; how much would that affect your sense of achievement?
There are of course, some who would not care in the least, some who would be bothered to some extent and some who would indeed be quite ‘demoralised’, feeling it took something away from what they had done.
This can happen in many areas of our lives, not just with the Bath Half! How many times have you felt that you have not been recognised for what you are giving, doing, taking care of and achieving? Perhaps you are seeing others getting credit, being treated differently from you and you are really struggling with that. It may be, that this is affecting your self-esteem; eroding what you are accomplishing in life.
It is good to ‘notice’ how these things affect you and to become aware of that internal (critical) voice. To develop an understanding of how you process these things and to be able to hold on to all that you are managing to achieve, both big and small, medal or not!
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About Jayne Phillips
Jayne is a fully qualified, BACP registered, therapeutic counsellor, working in private practice.